5. Shot One Day After His 17th Birthday
One day after his 17th birthday, Harambe the gorilla was shot dead by zoo staff after a child fell into the gorilla enclosure in Cincinnati Zoo. A video recording of the incident was taken by Kim O’Connor who said that the gorilla was actually trying to protect the child. The video shows the gorilla grabbing the boy and dragging him into the water. He then stands over the boy for a few moments before bringing him further into the enclosure. Harambe was unfortunately “neutralized” by a Cincinnati Zoo employee with one shot from a long rifle. The boy was then taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with serious, but not life threatening injuries.
4. Tranquilliser Issue
A huge controversial decision made by zoo officials at Cincinnati Zoo was to shoot Harambe with a bullet instead of a tranquilizer. Zoo officials based their decision on the fact that they believed that the boy was in danger. The Zoo Director, Thane Maynard said a tranquilizer would not have been effective, because it would have taken too long and could have agitated the 400-pound gorilla. He also added: “The child was not under attack but all sorts of things could happen. He was certainly at risk.” It was the first time an animal had to be killed at the Cincinnati Zoo.
3. Endangered Species
Harambe was a western lowland silverback gorilla, which is actually considered to be a critically endangered species, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The main reasons for the decline of western lowland silverback gorillas are due to poaching and disease, which have caused the population to drop over 60 percent over the last quarter-century. In fact, the WWF estimates that even if all of the threats to western lowland gorillas were removed, it would take about 75 years for the numbers to recover. According to Cincinnati Zoo, there are 765 gorillas in zoos worldwide, with 175,000 of them being in the wild.
2. Breed Harambe
Cincinnati Zoo had plans to actually breed Harambe as he was only 1 of 10 western lowland silverback gorillas in the zoo. The Zoo Director, Thane Maynard told the Washington Post: “He was a youngster and just starting to grow up. And there was hopes to breed him. He was not quite of breeding maturity yet. But it’ll be a loss to the gene pool of lowland gorillas.”
1. Gladys Porter Zoo
Harambe didn’t actually grow up in Cincinnati Zoo. He was born and raised at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas by 50-year-old, Jerry Stones. After hearing about Harambe’s death, Jerry Stones told New York Daily News that: “He was a special guy in my life. Harambe was my heart. It’s like losing a member of the family.” Harambe arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo in April 2015 at 16 and joined a social group with two 19-year-old females, Chewie and Mara.